Republican Party of Armenia boycotts special session in National Assembly, possibly driving opposition parties closer together.

“We need to put aside our narrow party and personal interests, consolidate and with a united agenda – and, why not, with a single candidate – contest the presidential election,” said Vartan Oskanian, former Foreign Minister and a leading Member of Parliament with the Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP), to a crowd of supporters that had gathered outside the Armenian parliamentary buildings on Wednesday 21 November. More…

The Parliament building in Yerevan.

Armenian opposition parties contemplate co-operation ahead of presidential elections in 2013.

Opposition legislators in Armenia have called for a special session of parliament to discuss possible amendments to the Electoral Code, the Criminal Code and the Law on the State Registration of the Population.

The amendments, hopes the opposition, will be “instrumental in preventing fraud” in the upcoming Presidential election in February 2013. Of particular salience is the proposed amendment to exclude Armenian citizens who have lived outside of Armenia for more than six month from the electoral lists. “We suggest that from now on only citizens who are in the territory of Armenia should be included in the electoral roll. All those who are absent from Armenia for more than six months must be excluded from this roll,” said Levon Zurabian, the leader of the Armenian National Congress (ANC) representatives in the National Assembly. More…

Armenian Opposition proposes transition to Parliamentary Republic.

The Office of the President of Armenia in Yerevan.

Ahead of next year’s presidential elections in Armenia it is not yet clear who the contestants are going to be. But as Karina Gould reports for CEW the debate is shifting from personalities to process as radical new ideas for constitutional changes are proposed. The Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP), the second largest faction in the Armenian National Assembly, while it has not confirmed whether it will be fielding a candidate in next year’s February Presidential election has indicated what kind of candidate it would support. Such a candidate, party spokesperson Naira Zohrabyan said, would be a “technical” president, willing to embark on the tough road of political reform seeking to implement a completely list-based proportional representation (PR) system for parliament, eradicating the single-mandate constituencies, and moving from a presidential to a parliamentary form of government in an effort to curtail the sweeping powers of the President in Armenia. More…

Who will challenge Serzh?

Serzh Sargsyan

Political repositioning is going on in Armenia ahead of the February 2013 Presidential elections. Karina Gould has been following events.

A second candidate has announced his intention to contest the February 2013 Presidential elections in Armenia. Raffi Hovannisian, leader of the opposition Heritage Party, declared on Friday his decision to challenge incumbent President, and member of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA), Serzh Sargsyan in three months time. “I declare today my nomination in the upcoming presidential election,” announced the former Foreign Minister of Armenia. More…

Sargsyan promises “free, fair, transparent and democratic” Presidential elections.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan
addressing the Congress of the European
People’s Party in Bucharest on 17 October
2012. (Picture courtesy of the Press
Service of the President of Armenia.)

“The authorities of the Republic of Armenia are determined to transform registered progress into a firm trend and to hold free, fair, transparent and democratic presidential elections,” announced Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan at the European People’s Party (EPP) Conference held in Bucharest, Romania on 17 October.

Referring to the positive assessment of the May 2012 parliamentary elections, which were considered to be “the best since independence” by international observers, the President, expressed his plan that Armenia will build on the recommendations suggested by the international community. Sargsyan explained to his audience that in order to achieve free, fair, transparent and democratic presidential elections next February, the Armenian authorities are “conducting preliminary works stemming from the conclusions and proposals of the OSCE/ODIHR.” More…

Armenian politician charged.

Vartan Oscanian

The Armenian National Security Service (NSS) Department of Investigation on Monday, 8 October  formally charged the Civilitas Foundation  founder Vartan Oscania in a case that has already become a centre of international attention. Karina Gould followed events in the days leading to the formal charges.

After two days of deliberations, Vartan Oskanian, a prominent legislator with the opposition Prosperous Armenia Party (PAP) and former Foreign Minister of Armenia, lost his right to political immunity in a 64-6 vote in the Armenian National Assembly on Tuesday 2, October.

The motion was put foward by the Prosecutor General of Armenia, Aghvan Hovsepyan, asking MPs to vote in favour of revoking Oskanian’s political immunity in order to initiate a criminal investigation for allegedly laundering $1.4 million from the charity he founded, the Civilitas Foundation. More…